A Living Culture

Photo: Travel Alberta / Sean Thonson

For First Nations, storytelling is more than just a form of entertainment. It is a way to pass on traditions and beliefs. Weaving legend and lore with inner wisdom allows young people to understand their heritage. For centuries, indigenous history and culture have been passed from generation to generation as the elders shared their stories and skills. This living heritage creates a sense of identity and ensures the past lives on.

Visitors can observe native rituals, listen to the wisdom of the elders, learn traditional handicrafts like beading and moccasin making and prepare ancestral foods at Alberta’s indigenous sites.

Dancing Buffalo Man
To see the hoop dance is to witness a form of storytelling where the dancer uses as many as 30 hoops to create both static and dynamic shapes representing animals and symbols. One of Alberta’s most famous hoop dancers is Dallas Arcand, a dancer who has won three world championships. His indigenous name is Dancing Buffalo Man.

In the Moon of the Longest Day
Summer solstice, June 21, is a day set aside to celebrate the unique heritage, cultures and achievements of Canada’s indigenous peoples. On National Aboriginal Day guests can experience special events like drumming and hoop dancing, storytelling and traditional games.

Tipi Teaching
In First Nations culture, women are the keepers of the tipi and they ensure it is set up correctly – facing east so prayers rise up towards the sun. Learn the significance of a tipi’s paintings and watch a tipi- raising ceremony at the Calgary Stampede’s Indian Village or visit a tipi at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.

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